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Students Attending Multiple Institutions A Common Practice

June 13, 2005

Forty percent of students who enrolled in postsecondary education for the first time in 1995-96 had attended more than one institution as of 2001, according to a new study released by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). The report, “The Road Less Traveled? Students Who Enroll in Multiple Institutions,” uses data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study and the Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study to point to the fact that attending more than one postsecondary institution during the course of undergraduate enrollment is a relatively common practice. 

The study also found that among the college graduates in 2001, almost 60 percent had attended more than one postsecondary institution. Other major findings include:

  • Forty-seven percent of 1999-2000 bachelor’s degree recipients who began their postsecondary education at four-year institutions had attended another institution at some point – with or without transferring.
  • For bachelor’s degree recipients in 1999-2000 who had attended more than one institution, transferring and co-enrolling were each associated with longer average time to completion of their bachelor’s degrees.
  • Not surprisingly, students who began their postsecondary education at a community college were more likely to transfer than those who began at four-year institutions. 

For other NCES studies and related studies, see the NACUBO research Web pages.